Getting back to school with promotional products puts kids on the right path

Shopping for back to school gear can be costly and time consuming.

Shopping for back to school gear can be costly and time consuming. People are always on the lookout for the best products and deals to make them more enticing, and companies can cash in on this motivation by offering targeted giveaways to draw in customers. Promotional pens, bags, shirts and notebooks can all find meaningful, regular use in the hands of an academic of any age.

With the start date for college right around the corner, some families may also be doing dorm room shopping, meaning an entire suite of home goods may be on the list of things for the school list. Mini fridges, microwaves, bedding, lighting, shelving and anything else that a student might need to make a dorm feel more like home will need to be acquired, and companies giving away promotional products with regular purchases could see more turnover if they invest in this strategy.

Improving the experience

To cater to the influx of shoppers, some stores are investing more heavily in promotional items. These will bring in more foot traffic and encourage more spending at local businesses, as shoppers will be flocking to the stores soon enough.

A report from DealNews, a market specialist on promotional products, said that August tends to be one of the strongest months of the year for giveaways, as whole families are out in force for these trips compared to other times. Seattle Today also wrote that the National Retail Federation (NRF) expects each of these families to spend about $700 for their non-college students, and more than $900 on those heading off to university.

"You can go only for so long with a ripped backpack and the now out-of-date electronics you've got," said Matthew Shay of the NRF. "Expect this to be an enormously promotional season for back-to-school shopping."

Online sales could also see a boost this season, and there's no reason why retailers can't market to these shoppers. Providing a promotional incentive could bring in additional revenue just by displaying the information on the company's website with a link to its store or information on physical business locations.

A big expectation

The last few years have seen slow economic activity across most industries, with businesses struggling to stay active and consumers tightening their belts and saving wherever they can. However, recent trends show that consumer confidence is on the rise and spending is subsequently increasing. The July market forecast from Thomson Reuters found that shopping revenue had gone up three times its last estimated projection for the period, with teenagers fueling the push.

These are also the target demographic companies should rely on for dorm shopping and promotional item giveaways as the summer winds down. Handing out custom flash drives and promotional pens can get just as much practical use as anything else on their shopping lists, and these items will travel with them potentially around the world to whatever colleges they may attend.

Some businesses are offering two-for-one, dollar-off and other monetary incentives to pull in customers this August, but as a big opportunity for promotional products, companies may stand to benefit more from branded giveaways than just giving consumers a dollar or two back. These items send a message that travels with the recipient as long as they own the item, increasing visibility and establishing the company at least with the person who received the product.

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